4 reasons small businesses struggle with social

A new Wall Street Journal Online survey sheds light on the challenges facing small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) with social media.

I say that with two hats on. As an MD of an SMD, I can relate to these business challenges. On the other hand our clients are global brands, so we know their challenges too – we help them overcome them. That said, I am not sure they are hugely different:

1) No time for social

Social media isn’t free. There are hidden (and often substantial) costs in terms of time and content. The survey said that 48% of SMBs spent less than 5 hours per week on social.  Creating content, connecting and engaging with customers and partner is time consuming. It needs dedication and focus.

2) No dedicated resourcing

Over 60% of small businesses have no dedicated resource. This doesn’t have to be new headcount, but instead carving out some time in one person’s day, every day, to give the social the love it needs. It also helps with accountability.

3) No measurement

A whopping 42% of small businesses don’t understand the value of social. They are either not measuring it or they just don’t think it has value. If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.

4) No social channel strategy

It’s interesting that while Twitter is the third most popular social network, only three percent of SMBs think it has most potential to help their business. Way out in front is Facebook and LinkedIn.  I think this belies a lack of understanding about social channel strategy. It’s horses for courses –  I would argue they all have huge potential to add value, depending  objectives. So for our clients with heavy customer service interaction, Twitter is often paramount.  Our content heavy clients also find Twitter a brilliant way to quickly distribute and sign-post their content. That said we know that LinkedIn can be more effective from a lead generation perspective for some clients.

The statistics in their article come from a  survey was conducted in January 2013 by WSJ/Vistage International, involving 835 small business in the US. The full article can be seen at the WSJ Online

Graph courtesy of Emily Maltby & Shira Ovide, Small Firms Say LinkedIn Works, Twitter Doesn’t, The Wall Street Journal


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